When you arrive at work in the morning, do people’s lives hang in the balance? It’s hard to imagine a situation where the survival of others takes priority over your second cup of coffee, but first responders can’t count on a soft start to the day. When they punch in, the switch flips. They need to be ready to play the hero or witness someone’s last breath all before lunchtime.
One officer kickstarted his Monday morning shift with a call about a high-stakes rescue mission — all in a day’s work. But before the dust even settled on call number one, the radio-dispatched him to a different deadly scene, leaving the officer to make more life-or-death decisions than he could count on one hand.
Aaron Franklin had been with the Massillon, Ohio, police department for four years, and he’d handled every sort of call you could imagine. But only an hour into one particular shift, he got the first call on what would be his most chaotic day wearing the badge.
Akron Beacon Journal
It was a natural transition for the army veteran to serve his community, not much could shake Aaron’s resolve. But on this Monday morning, that confidence was tested. Across the dial came a unique call: juveniles were trapped in water.
Firing up the sirens, Aaron set off for a storm drain that flowed into Sippo Creek and the Tuscarawas River. He’d never responded to a water rescue before. Because he had no backup, he realized he’d be taking the plunge in his uniform by himself.
The moment he parked the cruiser, a sopping wet 15-year-old boy rushed over, desperately pulling Aaron to the edge of an embankment. Somehow the boy managed to escape and call 911 while the rest of his friends were dragged by the current deeper into the open storm drain.
None of the other boys were visible from the water’s edge, but Aaron didn’t hesitate. He waded into the water, clinging to a tree limb, the only buffer between safety and getting sucked downstream. From his precarious position, Aaron spotted two more teens grasping the sides of the storm drain for support.
He called out to the boys, reassuring them that help was on the way. However, the power of the current made a one officer rescue impossible. Aaron called for backup and Massillon Fire Dep arrived on scene to tag-team the recovery of the teens still trapped out of sight in the miles-long culvert.
The storm drain traveled under the city, and three boys were still somewhere inside. Fire Department Chief Tom Burgasser joined Aaron in the water. He used a rope to stay tethered to shore, quickly floating out to meet the stranded boys in the entrance and pulling them back to dry land.
From there, the rescue got tricky. Aaron covered the entrance with a life ring, while police officers and firefighters located and dragged all the boys to safety. One of the teens was swept half a mile into the storm drain and frantically grabbed a ladder to avoid being carried off into the open river.
Real World Police / YouTube
Aaron toweled off onshore. Adrenaline pumping, he took his first pause to reflect on the rescue mission. Back at the firehouse, all parties were exhausted but glad to see the boys fall into the arms of their worried parents. But pats on the back would have to come later; Aaron’s shift wasn’t over yet.
Closing the door to his cruiser, Aaron barely had time to take a sigh of relief when his next call came through. Hoping for something a little less high stakes, he immediately had to shelve that fatigue and rocket off to another urgent situation.
The dispatcher sent Aaron speeding to respond to a vehicle crash. Given that a majority of the available responders were back at the previous incident, Aaron was flying solo. When he arrived on the scene, bystanders rushed to his cruiser yelling that the man behind the wheel of the car in question was turning blue.
Aaron concluded from an initial assessment that this wasn’t actually a car crash at all. There was a lone vehicle involved, and the driver was slumped over steering wheel unconscious in the middle of the road. He acted fast, pulling the man from the car and out onto the pavement.
999 The Point
Tapping into that familiar burst of adrenaline, Aaron tilted the unresponsive man’s head back to open his airway. Crucial seconds ticked by, and he could feel the faint pulse barely keeping the man alive. The crowd of bystanders hovered over Aaron and suggested the man was showing symptoms of an overdose.
Almost A Doctor
To save his life, Aaron needed help. He instructed one witness to retrieve the Narcan kit from his car. Then, he appointed another to keep traffic clear. Handling an overdose was well within his wheelhouse. If they acted fast, this man stood a good chance of survival.
“It wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last time I use Narcan, but, it was the first time I’d administered it on somebody lying in an active roadway,” Aaron said. With one blast of the miracle drug, Aaron felt a pulse growing stronger. A few seconds later, the man gasped, eyes open, beneath the police officer’s arms.
Emergency services arrived and took over from there. The man lived, thanks to Aaron’s swift response and the help of several Good Samaritans. Finally, Aaron could enjoy a hard-earned moment of rest. He’d saved his 6th life that day before his clothes had time to dry.
St Louis Post Dispatch
Naturally, Aaron’s Superman-style saves attracted a lot of attention. What are the odds of intervening in 6 subsequent near-deaths in the span of 3 hours? Police officers handle close calls every day, but they had to admit, Aaron experienced a rare action-packed Monday.
He waved aside the media attention and praise. In his opinion, this was what he signed up for when he joined the force. “My stance is every day in this line of work you show up and you never know what’s in store for you,” he told the Akron Beacon Journal.
Keeping it humble in true hero fashion, Aaron surmised, “Deep down, I hope, at least on that day, I did my job.” It’s safe to say the six people saved would agree that he did, and then some. At the very least, he earned a few lowkey calls for the next shift.
It was lucky that an officer like Aaron was on duty the day so much went terribly wrong because that’s not always a possibility. Luckily, as this family found out, the kindness of strangers can fill in when first responders are held up.
A storm was brewing in Texas. Torrential downpours ripped through the state and a tornado touched down near Dallas. Emily and Phillip Ocheltree tore down the rain-soaked highway in an SUV, fleeing to a shelter.
In the backseat, their kids, 18-month-old Addy and 4-month-old Marshal, were strapped into their car seats. So they, like their parents (see Emily on the right), were helpless when the truck hydroplaned on the wet roads.
Phillip, left, lost control of the vehicle, and the family’s black Chevrolet flipped on its roof into floodwaters raging roadside like a river. Now upside down, the water whipped past the doors and windows.
David Schecter / Facebook
Phillip and Emily tried opening the partially submerged doors, but the fearsome flood prevented them from doing so. Worse, water leaked into the truck’s cabin. The family panicked.
“It was pitch black in the car,” 21-year-old Emily said. “And you can’t see anything. You can’t find your kids, you panic.” Completely trapped and blind, she banged on the roof, yelled, and screamed for help.
What Philip and Emily didn’t know, however, was that, outside in the rain, a passerby named Thomas Mitchell, right, saw the upside-down truck. He didn’t know if anyone was inside, but he stopped to check anyway.
Thomas was not the only concerned passerby, though. As tornado sirens wailed in the distance, telling Texans to find safety fast, five other men—now six total—braved the tornado to inspect the flipped vehicle.
When one of the Good Samaritans, Korry Prox, heard screaming coming from inside the truck, he “went into panic mode.” He smashed the car’s windows, revealing to the helpers the terrified family trapped inside.
Phillip and Emily had been scrambling to save their kids, but under the stress and pressure, failed to do so. The helpers tried pulling the parents from the wreck, but Emily had another plan for them.
“Give [Addy and Marshal] life before you try to help me,” Emily told the men. She thought, “I’m fine. I am an adult. I can manage…I will figure out a way to get out of this vehicle, they cannot.” The heroic men complied.
Phillip Ocheltree / Facebook
Phillip and Emily scrambled through the broken window to dry land; feeling utterly helpless, the parents watched and Thomas filmed the scene as the rescuers fought flood waters to save Marshal and Addy.
David Schecter / Facebook
In the car, meanwhile, one rescuer called for a knife to cut the kids free from their car seats. Just moments later a rescuer emerged from the watery wreckage, carrying baby Marshal. But what about Addy?
David Schecter / Facebook
“I got a baby!” one rescuer shouted. “Call 911!” He held Addy, still strapped into her car seat. The 18-month-old had turned a blueish-grey and stopped breathing. Thomas then pocketed the phone and ran to perform CPR.
As luck would have it, though, one of the men who stopped to help was Jaime Martinez, a former firefighter in Guatemala. Though he worked as a musician at the time of the accident, he never forgot his rescue training.
“It just kicks in,” he later said. He administered CPR to the struggling little girl and kept her alive long enough to pass her off to first responders just minutes later. Medics then took Addy and Marshal to the hospital.
Marshal only spent one day at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas; Addy, on the other hand, fought for her life a bit longer. A few days later, Phillip posted an update about little Addy on social media.
“I just want everyone to know she is definitely on the road to recovery,” Phillip Wrote. “I want to thank each and every one of y’all who have prayed and donated every thing to help us.” The father had a special message for the six rescuers…
Phillip Ocheltree / Facebook
“Life comes at you in a blink of an eye,” Phillip wrote. “I can’t thank you all enough who came into the water and saved my children; you’re a blessing. Thank you all so much.”
CPR-hero Jaime also visited the family in the hospital, where he shared a tearful embrace with Emily. “I am really so happy that you are okay,” he told her. “And the babies, too.” None of them would ever forget how in the middle of that Texas storm, strangers from the community all banded together for a great purpose: saving a human life.